Friday, May 28, 2010

Merry go round - Networking

It''s time for another ride on the merry-go-round! Jump on and join a group of 9 artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's questions that we will answer are:
What do you do to network?
In what ways does it work or not work?

A dictionary definition of "Networking" defines it as "a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest."  I like the "supportive" part of that definition.  And also the "sharing" part too. In all my networking, I try to pay attention to the fact that it is not just a one way ticket and an opportunity for me to get my work out there, but that it is also important that I listen and see what others are doing and creating and offer them support.

Here are some of the internet based ways I network and what works for me:
  • Blogging 
I really enjoy blogging and think it's a great way to connect with people - both potential buyers, other artists and also, family and friends ( who are, of course, potential buyers and  great for word of mouth marketing).  I publish my blog here on Blogger, and then it is set up to also automatically publish on:
This means that one action gets to hit 4 different avenues which I really like!
In addition to my own blog, I also read and comment on lots of other blogs too.  I have quite a few blogs set up to come to my Google Reader and generally read them every day or every other day.  I love Google Reader as it brings all your favorite blogs to one place so you can read them all together rather than keep searching lots of different sites.

  • Etsy
While I have my storefront on Etsy, I'm not one who likes to hang out in the forums and chat. For some people, I know that is a great networking opportunity, but it's not my thing.  However I am part of the Etsy Metal Clay Team and that is a lovely way to stay in touch with other artists using the same media as myself.  It's a friendly team and both inspiring and supportive.  I've met a few members face to face and look forward to meeting more in the future.  We have our own team website and blog and so promote each other and metal clay.
Having a store on Etsy seems to be a great way for other stores to find your work too and I've had quite a few wholesale requests come from Etsy.  While I don't really do much wholesale work, as my pieces tend to me one of a kind, I am working on what could possibly be a great wholesale project at the moment for a company that I really fingers crossed for that - and they found me on Etsy.
  • Dawanda
As well as a storefront, Dawanda seems to offer me quite a few interview opportunities and features in other people's blog. This Monday, in fact, I am going to be interviewed for the Dawanda blog, so hopefully that will generate some interest.  Last week one of my products was on their newsletter which got me three sales that day, a blog feature and an interview request. 
And of course this "merry go round" originated from other sellers I "met" on Dawanda and the merriers are definitely a supportive networking system!  I do love Dawanda!

  Cartoon by Oliver Widder
  • Facebook
I initially joined Facebook as just somewhere to publish my blog...but now I enjoy it as a place to catch up with friends, previous customers, family etc.  While I'm not one of these facebook addicts, I enjoy seeing what everyone is up to and it's a great, easy way to keep up to date with everyone.
  • Twitter
I've never really got into Twitter. I don't do anything there except let my blog automatically publish there.  Maybe one day I'll get it....but then maybe not!
  • Flickr
Flickr is probably my most recent networking avenue.  For ages I couldn't really see the point of it, but then I gave it a try and have been featured on a few other blogs from people seeing my work there, and it's a great place to see lots of beautiful things.  I guess I'm quite an inconsistent Flickr user but that suits me.
  • Online galleries
There are few of these around where you can submit a photo for consideration for their gallery.  Craftgawker is one that I really like and  has brought me several customers.  You need to submit a photo of your work from your website or blog as it has to have some content associated with it - not just a photo.

A couple of blog style galleries are Try Handmade, Etsytacular, and Must Have Cute.  Must Have Cute sent me an amazing number of viewers after featuring my Nate and Kate octopuses.  They found my work - I didn't submit it - but I got hundreds of visitors from them.  They do have a submission process too but I'm not sure how often they use what is submitted as opposed to what they find.

I've found and purchased some wonderful things from these galleries too so they are definitely worth looking at.

What are your most successful networking efforts?  Any you'd like to share or suggest?

Take a look at how other friends on the merry go round network by visiting their blogs via the following links.  Remember that we live on different time zones so some may post later than others.
Alison at Tweed Delights -
Mitsy at ArtMind -
Kim at Vilt a la Kim -
Sara at Crafts of Texture -
Fabienne at Easterya Jewellery Creations -
Mariana at Florcita -
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent -
Lily at Lily Pang Art and Design -


ArtMind said...

So cool that I'm not the only one that didn't understand Flickr right away! LOL :) It seemed such a confusing place for me but now I just love it!
And I love the fact that you wrote teh definition of networking and mentioned that it's important to look & listen at other people's work too. Great networking, Ruth! :)

Tweed Delights said...

Very interesting stuff Ruth - it's great to see how everyone approaches their individual networking efforts :)

Florcita said...

WOW! You have really worked hard on this networking thing... you just gave me a couple of ideas which I suppose should then count as networking support! ahahaaha THANKS!

Easterya said...

You work so hard at networking you deserve everthing that comes your way and more! I feel you've found the balance between creating and networking, I'd love to be where you are!! Well done and thank you for being an inspiration!!! :)

meherio68 said...

Thank you for this very comprehensive directory— it's also good to see we all have different reactions to this or that channel...

Sara's Texture Crafts said...

I have always admired your networking skills, you seem to get the balance between creation and the right sort of networking forums to promote your work on... things like this little group of ours a great ideas!

As you can imagine I was very chuffed to read your comment on my blog!!